Logo of Phnom Penh Post newspaper Phnom Penh Post - French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday




French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday

A large metal sculpture of a bull by Ou Vanndy.
A large metal sculpture of a bull by Ou Vanndy. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

French cultural exchange kicks off on Saturday

A 15-day celebration of French and Cambodian culture and exchange is set to kick off on Saturday with an open house and concert at the French Institute, which will be followed by a series of free and ticketed cultural, culinary and entrepreneurial events throughout Phnom Penh.

“Culture, gastronomy, artisanship, entrepreneurship” – those are the four guiding themes of the events, said Guillaume Massin, president of French-Cambodian chamber of commerce, who along with Franck Sampéré, president of the Good France Cambodia committee, helped organise the event with French Embassy.

A French dinner, networking boat cruise and a lecture by renowned French foreign correspondent Florence Aubenas are just a sampling of the 11 events scheduled through the end of the month, for which the full schedule can be accessed by visiting the Facebook page of the French Embassy.

“One value [of the events] is the dialogue between cultures, the opening of one to another, and it’s really this opening through culture that France promotes enormously; I find this is important,” French Ambassador Eva Nguyen Binh told The Post at a press conference at the French Embassy on Thursday.

Originally a weeklong occasion, Binh said this year the sheer number of events slated necessitated an expansion from simply a “French week” to a “French fifteen” or la quinzaine Française as it’s been dubbed in French.

Not to be missed is the “Art in the Park” event on Saturday and Sunday next week, for which the French Embassy opens its gardens to the public and where contemporary artists Em Riem, Philong Sovan, Thang Sothea, Ou Vanndy, Phe Sophon, Tor Vutha and Nou Sary have installed sculptures, as well as a photography exhibition.

Content image - Phnom Penh Post
Artist Em Riem sits inside a rattan sculpture, which he made to demonstrate the versatility of the material. Alessandro Marazzi Sassoon

Sothea has hung massive frond-like structures made from tin cans among the trees, which he says are a commentary on the environment and the problem of pollution.

Em Riem took a lighter approach, with his untitled work made to demonstrate the power and versatility of rattan.

Tor Vutha, meanwhile, drew upon his experience as a refugee in Thailand to make plastic-fibre human figures representing refugees, which he’s painted in red, a colour that represents both luck and danger or violence.

“It’s also a reminder, to question, why does this happen again?” he said, noting the current global crisis.

Supporting contemporary Cambodian artists this way, says Ambassador Nguyen Binh, also reflects values such as freedom of expression.

“They go abroad yet here they exhibit fairly little, even if they are renowned, but here [at the Embassy] we gave them carte blanche,” she said.

La quinzaine Francaise runs through March 30. For detailed information go to their Facebook page

MOST VIEWED

  • Would you like fries with that? US burger chain makes Phnom Penh debut

    California-based The Habit Burger Grill restaurant chain is all set to serve up a delicious array of charbroiled burgers and sides at its newest international location in the centre of Phnom Penh. The Habit is “renowned for its award-winning Charburgers grilled over an open flame,

  • Angkor provides ‘valuable’ water storage

    The Apsara National Authority (ANA) has stored millions of cubic metres of water at reservoirs in the Angkor area after Cambodia experienced a series of rainstorms over the last few days. The storing of the water, besides serving temple conservation, will also be used to

  • Banteay Meanchey floods kill one more as death toll reaches 15

    As floodwaters start to recede in Pursat, Battambang and Pailin provinces and Phnom Penh, Banteay Meanchey continues to bear the brunt as one more person was killed on Monday, bringing the total number of flood-related deaths to 15 in the province this month. Banteay Meanchey provincial

  • Floods prompt evacuations in Kampong Speu

    Rain-induced floods and water flowing from Kampong Speu province have submerged the houses of 1,527 families living close to the Prek Thnot River in Spean Thma, Tien, Kong Noy and Roluos communes in Phnom Penh’s Dangkor district, according to data from local authorities. Spean Thma

  • Banteay Meanchey flood victims receive aid

    Prime Minister Hun Sen on Wednesday provided aid to more than 10,000 families affected by flooding in Banteay Meanchey province’s Mongkol Borei district and offered his condolences to the 18 victims who drowned in the province over the past week. He said flooding had occured in

  • Serving coffee with a side of robots

    The eye-catching glass building surrounded by greenery at the intersection of Streets 371 and 2002 in Phnom Penh’s Sen Sok district is more than just another coffee shop where you can while away a few hours. UrHobby House cafe is filled with robots and characters from